Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with three major Chinese companies to discuss further investment in road, rail and water projects during his official visit to the nation this week.
The Cambodian premier is currently in China on a three-day trip that ends on February 11, with the aim of securing further investment in Cambodia’s infrastructure.
According to a statement on the Prime Minister’s official Facebook page, he visited China Road Bridge Corporation, Beijing Urban Construction Group and China Metro Group.
“The companies have expressed interest in continuing to invest in the construction of transport infrastructure in Cambodia after investing in the construction of more than 2,000 kilometers of roads and bridges in the past,” the statement said.
It added that engineering giants, China Road and Bridge Construction Corporation and China Road and Bridge Corporation, are leaders in the field of transport infrastructure, including design studies, construction of transport infrastructure, waterway rehabilitation, heavy machinery production and import services.
During the meetings, the Chinese companies and Prime Minister discussed the construction and commissioning of Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway, which is being delivered under a public-private partnership (PPP) agreement.
Construction is slated to start in mid-2023 and scheduled for completion in 2027. This coincides with the construction of the Ho Chi Minh-Mok Bai Expressway, which is also slated to be complete by 2027.
Additionally, the companies made a pledge with Hun Sen to invest in inland waterway transportation, wastewater treatment in Sihanoukville, to study the Phnom Penh-Poipet Expressway, and invest in a light and high-speed railway from Siem Reap to the new international airport being built in Chi Kreng in Siem Reap.
Regarding light and fast railways, the Prime Minister called on China Metro Group Limited to study investment plans to construct a system connecting Phnom Penh to the new Phnom Penh International Airport, as well as light railways in the capital to reduce heavy traffic.
The Chinese companies added that they plan to study new investment feasibility in Cambodia for the future, especially after the fruitful results of the Prime Minister's current official visit to Beijing.
The companies added that they have completed a feasibility study to build subways in the Cambodian capital, with the report lodged with the Ministry of Public Works and Transport for further review.
The waterway and port transportation project was also raised, with a preliminary study of the Tonle Sap, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap waterway rehabilitation project complete. This will be handed to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
The master plan for a wastewater system development project is currently being studied, with the first feasibility for the development of infrastructure, sewer networks, and the construction of wastewater treatment plants in Khemarak Phoumin city, Koh Kong province, Battambang, and Kampong Cham.
Hun Sen also heard about the construction of Samdech Techo Sen Institute of Public Works and Transport, a four-storey building with classrooms, administrative offices, laboratories and equipment of study materials and modern experimental equipment, costing $2.5 million.
China Bridge and Road Corporation also provided about $2 million to help build the Techo Sen Hospital in Koh Thom, Kandal Province.
Pa Chanroeun, president of Cambodian Institute for Democracy, said Hun Sen is the first foreign leader to visit China since it recently reopened. He added that the aim of the official visit is to build bilateral ties, including attracting more Chinese investments.
Chanroeun added that amid international concern over the Chinese-funded Ream Naval Base in Sihanouk Province, it is key that Cambodia balances ties between Beijing and the West to “avoid being in the center of competitions between the superpowers”.
China was reported to have funded the improvement of the base’s medical and training facilities and repairing eight naval vessels. This sparked concerns that China was creating a military base overseas, a statement that Cambodia has rejected.